I'm working on the mobile web adaptation of a desktop design. The desktop version uses a modal box, on that modal box there are tool tips that can be hovered on or clicked for more info.

When adopting this design to mobile web, I feel it's not a good practice and this will create a "modal within a modal" situation. what's a better alternative design pattern i could use for this

  • 2
    I don't want to sound like an asshole, but if you need to explain your interface to your users, your interface is bad by design already.
    – marvinpoo
    Commented May 12, 2020 at 7:20
  • Use a indicator for more information such as a (i) or a triangle or whatever fits your design system. Then make it show the information under the - to be explained - object.
    – marvinpoo
    Commented May 12, 2020 at 7:22
  • 1
    @marvinpoo It doesn't have to be explanations of the interface, it can be more information that is maybe only relevant for some, so you don't want to show it in the first place. Commented May 13, 2020 at 8:45
  • 1
    Can a progressive disclosure element help, such as truncating or an accordion? Commented May 13, 2020 at 8:47

1 Answer 1


The "modal within a modal" problem arises when you need to return to the previous state (the whole point of a modal). So you should ask yourself two questions about the workflow:

  1. Can the information be included in the first modal?
  2. Can the user navigate to the information (new activity, close modal) from the modal view?

It's basically the same problem as tab within a tab and requires structuring the content.

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